INDIWIRE – The Oscar-winning director of ‘The Deer Hunter’ conducted his own strange but revealing Q & A at the Locarno Film Festival.

Dear Shaded Viewers,

Please listen to Michael Cimino talk about how he got into making movies. I saw him at Centre Pompidou a year ago when the director's cut of "Heaven's Gate" was screened. Here is an excerpt but please read the entire article on Indiwire  and listen to the video.


It has been a long time since I was in the same room with director Michael Cimino. My first job out of NYU Cinema Studies was in the publicity department at United Artists in New York, where I witnessed the long delays on Cimino’s follow-up to his Oscar-winning 1978 anti-war diatribe “The Deer Hunter,” the period western “Heaven’s Gate.” 

The director got caught up in chasing authenticity in the myriad details of the production, training for weeks the cast led by Kris Kristofferson and Isabelle Huppert to roller-skate for one scene—and demanding endless retakes until he shot more feet of film, over 1 million, than even Francis Coppola did on another memorably out-of-control UA movie, “Apocalypse Now.” The original $11 million budget bloated to $32 million (Cimino’s figure), as recounted in Steven Bach's "Final Cut: Art, Money and Ego in the Making of 'Heaven's Gate.' 

“Heaven’s Gate” was delayed from one year-end opening, 1979, to another, 1980. I attended the inert press screening from which The New York Times’ Vincent Canby emerged, stating that the movie "fails so completely that you might suspect Mr. Cimino sold his soul to obtain the success of ‘The Deer Hunter’ and the Devil has just come around to collect.” UA postponed the wide release in order to let Cimino trim the movie to under three hours, but the next set of reviews were no better.

Diane Pernet

A LEGENDARY FIGURE IN FASHION and a pioneer of blogging, Diane is a respected journalist, critic, curator and talent-hunter based in Paris. During her prolific career, she designed her own successful brand in New York, costume designer, photographer, and filmmaker.